Columbia Reconnects to Power Grid

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Dec. 25, 2016

Mike Paoli, Public Affairs, 509-377-4164
John Dobken, Public Affairs, 509-377-8369

RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station reconnected to the Northwest power grid shortly before 11:30 p.m. Saturday and operators are slowly raising the power level to 100 percent. Full power is anticipated within 72 hours. (UPDATE: Columbia reached 100 percent power Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 11:00 a.m.)

Columbia safely shut down at 11:24 a.m. Dec. 18 following an equipment malfunction at the Bonneville Power Administration’s Ashe Substation located near Columbia, resulting in a rejected load on the 500 kilovolt line connecting the plant’s main output transformers to the substation. In response, Columbia’s output breakers properly opened to separate the plant from any potential grid transients.

The substation handles all the electricity produced by the nuclear facility. Prior to shutting down, Columbia was operating at 100 percent power.

“I’m proud of the way the team responded in safely shutting down the plant and in their continued focus in getting us ready to return to 100 percent power,” said Bob Schuetz, plant general manager. “We are appreciative of the team who are working through the holidays to return the plant to full power.”

Columbia Generating Station, a 1,190-megawatt boiling water reactor, produces enough electricity to power a city the size of Seattle and is the third largest generator of electricity in Washington state. All of Columbia’s electricity is sold at-cost to BPA. Ninety-two Northwest utilities receive a percentage of its output.